Tar ponds contract behind schedule

Overall project unaffected, says spokesperson

Cape Breton Post
By Tom Ayers
Wed., Dec. 9, 2009

Sydney - Construction of a pumping system designed to move water around the tar ponds site is behind schedule, but it won’t affect the overall project, said Sydney Tar Ponds agency spokesperson Tanya Collier MacDonald.

The $37.6-million flow diversion contract was awarded to a joint venture between MB2 Construction of Membertou and Beaver Marine Ltd. of Halifax. The contractor is installing pumps and pipes to divert water from two brooks and to drain the ponds to enable another contractor — Nordly’s Environmental, a Cape Breton company owned by J&T van Zutphen Construction Inc. of Southwest Mabou, and ECC of Marlborough, Mass. — to solidify the sludge in the tar ponds.

A Nov. 18 project update states construction on the Wash Brook pump-around structure is about 90 per cent complete, the Coke Ovens Brook structure is about 95 per cent complete, and the Ferry Street inlet-outlet structure is about 75 per cent complete.

"They’re still behind schedule, but the solidification and stabilization is scheduled to proceed," Collier MacDonald said. "It’s not affecting the overall project. "The reason for the delay is because the contractor recommended some changes to the inlet-outlet structures. At the time, they didn’t think it would have an impact on the schedule, but it has."

Collier MacDonald said Nordly’s Environmental built a berm as a quick-fix and has started solidification and stabilization work in the meantime. MB2/Beaver Marine has been incurring a contract penalty of $5,000 a day since Oct. 23, when the flow diversion construction was supposed to be finished. "Since then, the agency has been working with them each day, meeting with them each day," said Collier MacDonald.

The work is now expected to be completed by Dec. 18.

Flow diversion and solidification work will then likely cease for the winter and begin in earnest in the spring.